From UofL SID
The second-ranked Louisville baseball team hosts No. 7 Vanderbilt on Tuesday at 6 p.m., ET in the regular season finale at Jim Patterson Stadium. Admission is free for the annual Battle of the Barrel, which will be televised by ESPN3 and aired on 93.9 The Ville. Subscribers of CardsTV can listen to live audio at GoCards.com.
GAME DAY INFO: #2 Louisville (40-12, 23-4 ACC) vs. #7 Vanderbilt (36-16, 18-9 SEC)
Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 | 6 p.m. ET
Location: Louisville, Ky.
Venue: Jim Patterson Stadium (4,000)
Live Stats: Gametracker at GoCards.com
Twitter Updates: @UofLBaseball
ABOUT THE CARDINALS
Earning its 11th straight series win and the ninth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference series victory, Louisville clinched the 2015 ACC Atlantic Division championship and won the final two games of a weekend series against then-No. 7 Florida State. The Cardinals, carrying their highest ranking in program history at No. 2 in the D1Baseball, NCBWA, USA Today coaches and Perfect Game polls, have won 29 of their last 35 games overall. At 23-4 in the ACC, Louisville has set a school record for conference wins in a single season (previous record was 21). The Cardinals need two wins in their final conference series to set a new single season ACC record for conference victories.
ABOUT THE COMMODORES
Vanderbilt enters the final week of the regular season at 36-16 and is atop the SEC Eastern Division with an 18-9 conference mark after dropping two of three home games last weekend to Florida. Last season, the Commodores won their first NCAA baseball championship defeating Virginia in the College World Series Finals. Vanderbilt finished with a 51-21 record overall and was third in the SEC East with a 17-13 mark.
Louisville is 7-23 all-time against Vanderbilt in a series dating back to 1953. Last season, the teams split a pair of games with the Cardinals earning an 11-7 win in Nashville to gain possession of the Barrel, while the Commodores answered with a 5-3 victory in Omaha in the opening round of the College World Series.
NO. 9 IN THE RPI, NO. 3 IN TOP 50 WINS
With less than two weeks of action remaining until the 2015 NCAA Championship field is announced, Louisville entered the week at No. 9 in the official NCAA RPI rankings released on Monday. The Cardinals are tied for third nationally in RPI top 50 wins with 15 trailing only LSU and Florida State with 16 each.
FEELING AT HOME IN PATTERSON STADIUM
Since opening the gates at Jim Patterson Stadium in 2005, the Cardinals have won more than 75 percent of their games in the ballpark posting a 273-87 record (.758 winning percentage), including a 25-5 mark this season at the corner of Third and Central.
ACC ATLANTIC DIVISION CHAMPIONS
Entering the final week of the ACC regular season race, Louisville has clinched the Atlantic Division title and the top seed in the 2015 ACC Championship in its inaugural season. At 23-4 overall, the Cardinals are six games clear of Florida State (17-10) in the Atlantic with Notre Dame (15-12), NC State (13-12) and Clemson (13-13) next. Miami (19-8) has clinched the Coastal and is followed by North Carolina (13-13), Georgia Tech (13-14) and Virginia Tech (12-14).
TEAM NOTES AND TRENDS
• Through 52 games this season, the Louisville bullpen has a 1.74 ERA with an 19-0 record, 189 strikeouts to just 78 walks in 180.2 innings and opposing batters are hitting only .166.
• In 27 ACC games, the Cardinals have a staff ERA of 2.69 with 225 strikeouts in 251.0 innings. The bullpen has a 2.23 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 80.2 innings of work in conference action.
• Louisville has won 134 straight games when entering the ninth inning with a lead dating back to May 2012. The Cardinals were 43-0 last season and 46-0 in 2013 when leading after the eighth.
• The Cardinals have allowed two or fewer earned runs in 32 of 52 games this season. Last season, they did it in 40 of 67 games, while in 2013, they accomplished the feat in 36 of 65 games.
• Louisville is 28-0 this season when scoring first and 15-0 when scoring in the first inning.
• From March 21 to April 10 of this season, the Cardinals played 83 consecutive innings against ACC opponents without trailing.
• The win over Florida State on May 10 clinched Louisville’s fourth straight 40-win season and the eighth in nine seasons under the direction of head coach Dan McDonnell.
• Louisville has won 11 straight series against a nationally ranked opponents.
PLAYER NOTES AND TRENDS
• Sutton Whiting leads the Cardinals in hitting with a .340 average overall in 49 starts. In ACC action, Whiting has a .369 average and has reached safely in 24 of his 25 conference games.
• Corey Ray leads the Cardinals with 11 home runs, 47 RBI, 41 runs scored and 28 stolen bases in 35 attempts. He’s also hitting .332 overall while starting all three outfield positions.
• In 27 ACC games, Ray has seven home runs, 26 RBI, 21 stolen bases and a .348 average.
• As the first player in Dan McDonnell’s nine seasons to start on the mound and play virtually every day as a position player/hitter, freshman Brendan McKay is 8-1 with four saves, a 1.65 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 71.0 innings pitched (16 appearances, nine starts.). At the plate, he is hitting .323 with two home runs, 28 RBI, 27 runs scored and 32 walks in 45 starts as a hitter.
• In his last 11 starts on the mound, Josh Rogers is 7-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 66.1 innings pitched. In nine ACC starts, he is 5-0 with a 2.35 ERA. • Nick Solak had his career-best 20-game hitting streak halted on May 2 at Clemson, however he continues to produce for the Cardinals carrying a .327 average with a team-high 12 doubles, two home runs, 36 RBI, 39 runs scored and 18 stolen bases in 21 attempts. In 27 ACC games, Solak is hitting .343 with eight doubles, 21 RBI and 23 runs scored.
• Solak has four career home runs with three either tying the score or giving Louisville a lead.
FOUR STRAIGHT CONFERENCE TITLES IN THREE DIFFERENT LEAGUES
On May 9, the Louisville baseball team clinched the 2015 ACC Atlantic Division championship marking the program’s fourth straight regular season conference championship, including the last three in different leagues. After finishing with an 18-9 record and sharing the 2012 Big East Conference title with St. John’s, the Cardinals stood alone as champions in their final season in the league with a 20-4 mark in 2013. In the program’s only season in the American Athletic Conference in 2014, Louisville finished with a 19-5 league record for sole ownership of the inaugural conference title. Overall, the Cardinals have won six regular season conference championships in nine seasons under the direction of head coach Dan McDonnell.
CARDINALS IN NATIONAL POLLS EVERY WEEK SINCE BEGINNING OF 2012
The Louisville baseball program has enjoyed a historic run by remaining in at least one of the major national polls every week since the release of the 2012 preseason rankings — the longest such span in school history. On May 4, the Cardinals earned their highest ranking in school history rising to No. 2 in the D1Baseball and NCBWA polls after opening the season as high as No. 7 in the USA Today preseason coaches poll. The coaches ranking marked the third straight season the Cardinals were positioned in the top 10 in a preseason poll.
Earning a preseason national ranking for the eighth straight season, Louisville was ranked in the top 12 in each of the six preseason national polls in 2015. The Cardinals were also at No. 9 in the Perfect Game preseason Top 25, No. 11 in the D1Baseball Top 25 and No. 12 in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball newspaper polls.
LOUISVILLE PITCHERS LEAD NATION IN STRIKEOUTS SINCE 2012
Since 2012, Louisville’s pitchers lead the nation in strikeouts with 2,140 overall. The Cardinals, who had 473 strikeouts through 52 games of 2015, finished with 563 strikeouts last season, had an NCAA best 629 in 2013 and finished with 474 in 2012. Vanderbilt ranks second since 2012 with 2,132 strikeouts, while NC State (2,081), North Carolina (2,029) and Mississippi State (2,014) round out the top five.
RAY STEALS HOME, HEADLINES IN NINTH INNING AGAINST WAKE FOREST
Considered by many to be the most exciting play in baseball, sophomore Corey Ray took it to a new level on April 18 at Jim Patterson Stadium by not only stealing home, but doing it in the bottom of the ninth inning to score the game-winning run and complete a series sweep of visiting Wake Forest. Moments after the Cardinals had tied the game on a wild pitch, Ray charged down the third base line sliding around the attempted tag and across home plate setting off a wild celebration. The play gained national attention as it was not only featured at No. 8 in Sunday’s SC Top 10, but was also used by ESPN during its opening segment of SportsCenter that morning.
LOUISVILLE WELL REPRESENTED ON NATIONAL AWARD WATCH LISTS
With the postseason fast-approaching, numerous national award watch lists have been released and the Louisville baseball program has been well represented. A total of five Cardinals — Zack Burd,Kyle Funkhouser, Brendan McKay, Will Smith and Sutton Whiting — were named to six different national watch lists. Here are more details on each award.
• BROOKS WALLACE AWARD WATCH LIST: Sutton Whiting
Sutton Whiting was named on April 23 to the initial watch list for the 2015 Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award. The award, sponsored by Mizuno, recognizes the nation’s top shortstop and will be presented during the National College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions on June 29 in Lubbock. For more information on the Brooks Wallace Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
• PITCHER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST: Kyle Funkhouser & Brendan McKay
Kyle Funkhouser and lefthander Brendan McKay were among 46 players named on April 23 to the initial watch list for the Pitcher of the Year Award, presented annually by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. The award, sponsored by Diamond, will be presented on June 29 in Lubbock as part of the annual Night of Champions. For more information on the Pitcher of the Year Award, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
• JOHN OLERUD AWARD WATCH LIST: Brendan McKay
Lefty pitcher and first baseman Brendan McKay was named on April 22 to the watch list for the 2015 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, which honors the nation’s top player both on the mound and at the plate. The award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s, and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented as part of the Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions celebration, June 28-29 in Lubbock, Texas.
• STOPPER OF THE YEAR AWARD WATCH LIST: Zack Burdi
Zack Burdi was named on April 21 to the midseason watch list for the 11th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award. Last season, Louisville’s Nick Burdi, the older brother of Zack, was chosen as the NCBWA Stopper of the Year after finishing with a school record 18 saves. The NCBWA will announce five finalists for the 2015 Stopper of the Year – the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts – on Wednesday, June 3, prior to the start of NCAA Super Regional competition. The NCBWA’s All-America Committee will select the winner, with this year’s recipient to be announced during the 2015 College World Series.
• GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD WATCH LIST: Kyle Funkhouser & Brendan McKay
Junior righthander Kyle Funkhouser and freshman pitcher/first baseman Brendan McKay were named to the 60-player midseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list on April 9. Sponsored by Major League Baseball, and presented to the top amateur baseball player in the country in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, 2015 marks the 38th year of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award. The watch list will continue to be a “rolling” list until May 27 — when the semifinalists for the award are announced — ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award. On May 22, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award. The semifinalists list will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow the amateur game closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 37 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters. The 2015 Golden Spikes Award winner will be named on June 23, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner that evening at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.
• JOHNNY BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST: Will Smith
On March 11, Louisville sophomore Will Smith was among 75 catchers named to the official watch list for the 2015 Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com. Because the award is given annually to the top division one collegiate catcher, the list will be updated to include other candidates until May 4. The watch list will be narrowed to the semifinalists on May 14, while the finalists will be announced June 2. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 18th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 25, 2015.
ACC, NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS FOR THE CARDINALS
• MCKAY NAMED ACC PITCHER OF THE WEEK ON MAY 11
Freshman lefthander Brendan McKay was chosen as the Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week on May 11. McKay continued his impressive rookie campaign on May 9 by holding No. 7 Florida State without a hit in 6.1 innings of shutout work as Louisville clinched the 2015 ACC Atlantic Division championship with a 7-0 win at Jim Patterson Stadium. The two-way player from Darlington, Pennsylvania, added six strikeouts to improve to 8-1 on the season.
• ROGERS CHOSEN AS ACC PITCHER OF THE WEEK ON APRIL 13
Sophomore lefty Josh Rogers was named ACC Pitcher of the Week on April 13. Making starts to open and close the week, Rogers went 2-0 with a pair of ACC road wins for the Cardinals. On April 6, the New Albany, Indiana native delivered seven shutout innings while allowing just three hits in a dominant effort at No. 14 Virginia to lead Louisville to a 4-0 win and complete a series sweep. Rogers earned his second victory in seven days on April 12 after striking out seven and allowing just one run in five innings in the Cardinals’ 11-1 triumph to clinch the series win at Duke.
• RAY NAMED ACC PLAYER OF THE WEEK ON APRIL 6
Sophomore Corey Ray was chosen as the ACC Baseball Player of the Week on April 6. Ray hit .600 in three games during the week, finishing 9-for-15 with two home runs, nine RBIs, three doubles, six runs scored, two stolen bases and a 1.333 slugging percentage. After opening the week by going 3-for-5 with a home run, double, triple and four RBIs in a nonconference win over Miami (Ohio) on March 31, Ray kicked off the Cardinals’ series win at No. 9 Virginia by connecting for his first career grand slam in the seventh inning of an 8-1 triumph and finished 2-for-5 overall. The Chicago, Illinois, native kept things rolling on April 5 by going 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored, one RBI and two stolen bases in an 11-4 victory over the Cavaliers.
• ACC, NATIONAL PITCHER OF THE WEEK HONORS FOR FUNKHOUSER
Kyle Funkhouser was chosen as the ACC Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 16 while also being named as a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. He matched a career-high with 12 strikeouts and allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings to lead the Cardinals to a 5-1 season-opening win over Alabama State on Feb. 13 at the Opening Weekend Challenge. Funkhouser retired the final 20 batters he faced and equaled his strikeout total at Temple last May and improved to 19-4 in his collegiate career with the performance.
TEN CARDINALS MAKE COLLEGIATE DEBUTS IN 2015
A total of 10 Cardinals have made their collegiate debuts thus far in the 2015 season. During the Opening Weekend Challenge in Florida, Devin Hairston, Colby Fitch, Lincoln Henzman, Kade McClure, Brendan McKay and Blake Tiberi took the field for Louisville, while Butch Baird andSean Leland saw their first chances for the Cardinals in the series against Arkansas State. On Feb. 24, Chandler Dale became the ninth player to see action with a relief appearance against Butler. Junior Jimmy Faul became the 10th player with his pinch hit single against Boston College on March 14.
CARDINALS FINISH MOST SUCCESSFUL MARCH IN SCHOOL HISTORY
Louisville finished with its highest winning percentage ever for the month of March after compiling a 16-3 record overall (.947 winning percentage) this season. The Cardinals surpassed the previous best record for March of 15-3 (.833) during the 1984 season, while the third highest winning percentage in the month came during the 2010 season when Louisville finished at 14-3. The month of March has proven to be a successful one for the Cardinals under the guidance of coach Dan McDonnell. Louisville has never finished with a losing record in the month while seven of the nine seasons they have won 13 or more games in March.